Fashion 4.0: from pencil sketches to data-driven sketches

To refer to a ‘data oriented’ approach in fashion seems a bit stretched for those who consider this sector as the bulwark of concepts such as uniqueness and craftsmanship, research and passion. Yet… things change quickly, bringing new scenarios that we would have never imagined only a few years ago.

A taste of this was given in September by the Australian designer Jason Grench at the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. He is not the first and won’t be the last: what are we talking about? About his ‘cognitive collection‘ developed with IBM’s Watson technology.


In essence, to create his new collection, Grench used cognitive interfaces and tools that analysed 10 years of images from the fashion, design and architecture world loved by the designer, mixing them in real time with the buzz created by users across social networks and on the Internet. The goal? To understand the trends, in terms of colour, taste and models, of future consumers.

It is not the first time IBM works together with the fashion world (is it a coincidence?). At the Met Gala, the sumptuous annual fashion event organised by Vogue to open the Manus x Machina exhibition (which we discussed here), the Watson tool was used to create the dress worn by the model Karolina Kurkova: consisting of over 150 LED lights, the creation – produced in collaboration with the British design studio Marchesa – changed colour depending on the reactions and the emotional consent of people looking at it: a visionary and unique sight!

In short…in the past, designers used to draw inspiration from books, art, music and memories, and from real people they’d met on the streets of cities all over the world. Today this – irreplaceable – wealth is complemented by another wealth made up of data, pixels, equations and information accumulated over the years in the intricate web network. What does the future hold for us? We can only wait and see!